Saturday, December 31, 2005

Apparently freedom of speach is secondary to freedom of Islam in the UN

That's one way to gag a journalist, not to mention his peers. Already, an Afghan human rights proponent told the Post, journalists are saying they "have to be very, very careful in the way that they talk." Which is probably nothing our troops in Afghanistan thought they were fighting for. But no one in the West seems too broken up about it. Then again, maybe no one really cares whether freedom of expression is an attribute of 21st-century civilization after all. The flip side of the Nasab story — flip side of the globe, anyhow — makes this clear.

The last time we checked in with "Jyllands-Posten," the Danish newspaper that ran 12 rather tame cartoons of Muhammad to prove that an Islamic religious injunction against depicting the Islamic prophet didn't apply in a sovereign Western nation, it was bearing up under Islamic street protests and bomb threats, diplomatic attack, and a likely U.N. human rights commission investigation. And so was Denmark. Danes had been warned away from Pakistan, where bounties were placed on the cartoonists' heads; Kashmir was the scene of anti-Dane rioting; and Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen was under intense pressure to apologize for, and/or meddle with Denmark's freedom of the press. Amazingly — inspirationally — in this age of the about-face, neither the newspaper nor the prime minister has apologized for upholding free speech.

Now, the cartoons have drawn fire from both the Council of Europe and the European Union. The U.N. human rights commission has actually demanded "an official explanation," directing the Danish government to respond to the question, "Do the caricatures insult or discredit?" (This, frankly, presents Denmark with rather a meager choice.) Also, 22 former Danish diplomats have rapped the prime minister for not meeting Muslim diplomats who demanded to discuss the cartoons. As a spokesman for the prime minister explained, "It doesn't serve any purpose to enter into a dialogue to stop the democratic process."

So the UN's against freedom of speach and for freedom of abortion, seems to be the summary.

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